Thanks to my mom's birthday, I had the chance to try Tom Colicchio's LA restaurant Craft located near the Century City outdoor mall. It was just the two of us and I made reservations painlessly on opentable.com. We were there on a Saturday night with a 7:30 reservation and the place was packed, but you wouldn't have known that from lingering in the bar area. The bar is referred to as Craftbar and has a menu of its own. Next time I'm in the area, I definitely want to try the bar menu for dinner. From the looks of the menu, the bar focuses on small plates at very reasonable prices, especially given the area.
One highlight of the evening was the fact that we had to wait a few minutes for a table, because if we hadn't waited, we wouldn't have seen the chef himself, Tom Colicchio. It was a rather surreal moment because it happened so quickly. We noticed the hostess open the door for someone, he darted inside, and went straight to the kitchen without hesitation. We were told later by our waiter that Chef Tom only comes in every few months, so our sighting was a rarity. He never came out of the kitchen while we were there, so we felt like we knew a secret that none of the other diners were in on.
Wine bottle wall
Now for the food. We started with cocktails: a Tom Collins infused with cucumber for me and the Craft Margarita for my mom. Both were delicious and not stingy with the hard stuff. They brought an amuse bouche of butternut squash soup with pepitas on top. This was a tasty bite and we were ready for the rest of our meal. We shared everything, which ended up being the perfect amount for the two of us. Salad course: warm spinach and smoked bacon salad. This was full of delightful porky flavor and the perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg on the side was a nice touch, though I wish the salad had been warmer since it was described as a warm salad. Pasta course: papradelle noodles with porcini mushrooms in a brown butter sauce. This was our favorite course of the night. Main course and side: black cod and baby leeks, and roasted cauliflower as the side dish. Things can get pretty pricey because the main dishes don't come with sides. We loved the cauliflower, but wished the fish was a little more cooked. I know that rare fish is the trend, but I like to save my rare fish excursions for sashimi. There were many other items on the menu that sounded good. Next time, I'll have to bring a few more people so we can try more dishes.
The bargain of the night came at dessert. My mom ordered the cheese plate with the French Bleu D’Auvergne. For 5 bucks, the plate was decked out with candied nuts, a fruit chutney and puree, two types of thin crackers, and a hefty helping of the cheese. I ordered the beignets, which had an orange flavor in the background. They came out piping hot with honey and chocolate ganache on the side. Had I known they were also going to bring my mom a chocolate ganache birthday cake on an adorable little cake stand, I wouldn't have ordered dessert. Oh well. The dessert menu also had some non-traditional ice cream flavors that sound worth trying. I had my eye on the maple bacon flavor. After everything was cleared they brought more little treats: a tiny tray of caramel corn, 2 cookies, candied pineapple and a cranberry muffin for each of us for breakfast. I love little extras like that.
Patio during the day
All in all we had a great time and the service was good as well, especially considering how busy the place was. I think I need to go back one more time to decide if it's worth the high price tag, or maybe we'll just try our luck at the bar.
10100 Constellation Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067